How are you different from your competition? Do you pride yourself on a unique menu or dining experience? Positioning a restaurant concept for growth is critical to your long-term success.
In Part 1 of a new series on Restaurant Growth and Expansion, we look at the quest to be dramatically different.
When it comes to differentiating your business, subtlety is rarely an asset. Consumers need to clearly understand what makes your restaurant concept different. That’s one of the key factors that inspires a desire to check it out. Word of mouth alone can position you for growth when your story—and the experience you design for your guests—is compelling enough that people want to talk about you.
Here are 5 points of differentiation you might consider for your business:
Product. Do you have (or can you create) a signature menu offering that people can’t get elsewhere? A trendy signature item can attract new customers and their friends—and potentially drive ticket size if it’s an add-on item. Test it on your family and friends first, and get creative!
Service. We all know the importance of great customer service—but what could you do to deliver over-the-top service that really wows customers? If you’re tracking customer spending habits in your POS system, it’s easy to train your staff to recognize new and high-volume customers. One technique that can work well is a surprise offer at the point of sale (or through your social media channels): randomly grant someone a free meal and see what the impact is on word of mouth.
Be unique. Being different can also mean stepping outside the box in other ways. Have you tried theme nights? Kids’ "pizza school" events? High-impact community involvement? A unique theme or "voice" that comes across in your marketing, social media, decor, and dress code can be the first step in attracting guests who are true fans.
Solve a Problem. Is there a sub-par experience consumers in your area have come to expect from other restaurants that you want to set yourself apart from? Skimpy salad bars? Slow deliveries? Turn it around in your restaurants, and watch your guests spread the word.
Communicate. Once you’ve crafted your dramatically different brand message, keep it front and center in everything you do. Commit to it, and resist temptation to fall back into the trap of mirroring your competition. Building your brand takes time and patience, but the payoff is ongoing growth.
Are you already dramatically different? Let us know how use a key element to make your restaurant concept special, get people talking, and drive profits for future growth.
Catch Part 2 of this series: "Successfully Building Your Brand," next week!
Posted by Tricia Hoy| Author's website